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About modern MBT design philosophy, angled armor and modern ammunition


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Blackhorse_Six_ #21 Posted Apr 14 2015 - 14:07

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ohhh yeah ...

 

We want that reticle ...



RaynorShyne #22 Posted Apr 14 2015 - 14:18

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View PostThe_DireWolf, on Apr 13 2015 - 07:11, said:

I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to modern military stuff, but I have a question- are tanks still actually needed? I don't mean that they are obsolete, but I can't imagine tank v tank warfare im the current age. 

 

There are thousands of tanks in the world.  T-34/85's Centurions, an even relics from the old IS series are still out there in addition to every dictator in the word grabbing a couple thousand left over T-55's to compliment their front yard.   New developments are constantly evolving.  The best thing to defeat a tank is a tank.   No doubt this very simple, well grounded Army axiom will be lost on the children and arm-chair generals of the videogame world.  I can hear the cries of "but air-fired-anti-tank-missiles-from-drones" now.  Predictions of the death and obsolescence of the tank started about 15 minutes after the Battle of Cambrai and continue to today.   In the infamous words of TF Fehrenbach, "...you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men in the mud."



qcarr #23 Posted Apr 14 2015 - 15:23

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View PostLert, on Apr 13 2015 - 07:54, said:

 

It must be a very interesting feeling that part of your job is hoping you never get to do your job.

 

That is exactly what being in the military is all about - high tempo, never-ending training to make you the absolute best at your job, while hoping (mostly) that you will never have to do it for real.

 

PS., Thank you, Lert, for a very interesting post and the awesome video!


Edited by qcarr, Apr 14 2015 - 15:24.


stalkervision #24 Posted Apr 14 2015 - 20:19

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View PostBlackhorse_Six, on Apr 14 2015 - 08:07, said:

ohhh yeah ...

 

We want that reticle ...

 

In other words your reticent about the reticle.  LOL 

Blackhorse_Six_ #25 Posted Apr 14 2015 - 21:04

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View Poststalkervision, on Apr 14 2015 - 14:19, said:

In other words your reticent about the reticle.  LOL 

 

(+1) on that ... :)

 

Every tank gunner in The Real World knows how to use that reticle ...



_Leo_Major #26 Posted Apr 15 2015 - 00:52

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Its because Germany understands the fact that sloped turrets add +50 sexiness factor, giving it a mssive advantage over both the challenger and Abrams.

SquareCanine #27 Posted Apr 21 2015 - 15:50

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That's a clever trick with the Leo turret. I like that.

 

I think it's because of different armor design itself.

 

The Chobham armor the M1 uses doesn't work very well at high angles of impact, especially against kinetic rounds. High angle of impacts cause more widespread cracking in the armor, and reduces the effectiveness of the ceramic layers. I don't think the angle matters so much against HEAT rounds (that depends more on the exact armor composition). Chobham armor as used on the M1, while more effective than steel in general, is more effective against HEAT rounds than kinetic rounds. I think the difference is estimated to be something like 30% (it's not insignificant).

 

The Challenger II is a newer design, and does use a different armor composition (Dorchester), which is probably an improved composition that includes a superior ceramic material. If they could regain some of the repeated hit durability and deflecting ability of early composite armor designs without compromising the HEAT protection provided by the ceramics in Chobham, then you'd end up with armor that would be effective when angled, that would offer a better balance between kinetic and HEAT munitions.

 

Looking at the Merkava and now partially unveiled Armata, both of which use slopped armor as well, that yeah, it's probably down to advances in materials engineering.

 

TL;DR The M1 and Leo 2 use mostly flat armor because that's what the Chobham armor they are using is good at. The Challenger 2 is a little over a decade older, and is known to use a different composition for at least some of it's composite armor, which would suggest that Dorchester armor has solved the problems with angles inherent in Chobham armor, hence the use of some angled armor.


Edited by SquareCanine, Apr 21 2015 - 15:53.


collimatrix #28 Posted Apr 21 2015 - 19:30

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What evidence is there that chobbham has ceramics in it at all?

Blackhorse_Three_ #29 Posted Apr 21 2015 - 21:40

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View Postcollimatrix, on Apr 21 2015 - 13:30, said:

What evidence is there that Chobham has ceramics in it at all?

 

The Wikipedia article gives it heavy reference.

 

Also, according to that article, Burlington and Dorchester are informal alternate names for Chobham armor.

 

(Although all of them together may reflect an evolutionary process in the concept - but that's just conjecture on my part).

 

My understanding of the steel foundation of Chobham armor is that the elongated grain-structure, resulting from mill-rolling, is set at an axis perpendicular to the traditional application of rolled plate. That implies that the steel foundation of Chobham is not "plate" at all, but would have been first applied as numerous small blocks as opposed to a simple slab of plate armor. Any tool & die man who ever drilled or machined special-application steels knows how much tougher the steel can be when they're drilling or machining "against the grain".

 

My understanding has always been that the ceramic aspect started-out as an over-laid laminate. The ceramics would have great resistance vs HEAT while the cross-laid mill-roll of the steel would have greater resistance vs APFSDS.

 

But, I'm just an operator, not an engineer.



Delerium #30 Posted Apr 21 2015 - 22:16

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Why the British tank designers did this? No idea. Might have something to do with the industrial capacities or they just wanted to be special (who the hell drives on the left side of the road...).

 

 

 

.

Actually, given that 80% of the worlds population is right handed, it makes sense do drive on the left side of the road. Driver is then seated on the right, which means master hand is on the steering wheel and off hand is changing gears rather than the other way around. Who the hell still uses imperial measurement?



Delerium #31 Posted Apr 21 2015 - 22:18

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View Postalternaive, on Apr 13 2015 - 13:05, said:

 

The wedges consist of sandwich plates (depending on location two or three). The sandwich plates work as NERA (non-explosive reactive armor) and have - just like ERA - to be sloped to make use of their full potential. Simple NERA consists of rubber sandwiched between two metal layers, also more specialized types of material have been developed by the armor industry (like IBD of Germany).

 

How it works: The plate is hit, which causes the rubber (or alternatively another type of elastic material) to compress to it's point of maximum depression. When the steel layer however is penetrated, the rubber will decompress and force additional material into the path of the penetrator, while redirecting some of the impact energy of the penetrator back to it.

 

Such armor is also known as 'bulging plates armor' (literal translation of the German term) or 'reflecting sheet armor' (literal translation of the Russian term).

 

These are two full scale APFSDS-penetrators after penetrating a NERA plate made of two 8mm steel plates of higher hardness between which a 2mm rubber sheet was sandwiched. The penetrators do not change their path of flight, but break and the parts become disarranged. These actual tests were done in a cooperation between Switzerland and the Netherlands, both which are/were user countries of the Leopard 2.

 

Two NERA plates against a shaped charges, this time the tests was done in Germany with different materials (including special high performance material from the armor industry). In the best case the penetration of a shaped charge with a diameter of 136mm was reduced from 950mm to 22mm, but the distance between the fusing point and the steel target was changed, i.e. I think it should be less.

 

The big advantage of NERA over ERA is that one can utilize multiple layers on top of each other.

 

 

Different construction of the turret. The Leopard 2 and the M1 Abrams use a monocoque construction - i.e. the structure of the tank is made with forming empty 'boxes' in which the armor is inserted. The Leopard 2 simply has further armor added ontop of the base armor to reach a higher level of protection.

The Challenger 1 and 2 are constructed in a different way - the turret is cast and includes sloped armor, with the composite armor boxes being attached via rails to the outside of the tank:

Why the British tank designers did this? No idea. Might have something to do with the industrial capacities or they just wanted to be special (who the hell drives on the left side of the road...).

 

 

The wedge shaped armor was added after a higher level of protection was required - I'd say they did it because the German engineers came to the conclusion that this is the best possible way to increase the protection level. The Abrams does still have flat armor because of different armor design (maybe because the Americans do use DU), different requirements of protection (maybe the Abrams requirements were lower so that adding external armor was not required) or due to space constraints (the M1 Abrams frontal turret armor is closer to the front, i.e. it 'hangs' above the driver).

 


Sloping requires thickness to work. At extremely high slopes armor can still bounce modern ammo, but in a different way - too high stress will break the penetrator and a part will be deflected, which is how the glacis (1.5 inch thick steel) of the Abrams and Leopard 2 work.

Against armor that is sloped at less extreme angles, modern APFSDS ammunition will actually penetrate more armor than against unsloped armor, due to failure by plug generation/tearing up of armor.

 

 

If there are any ceramic layers in modern composite armor...

 

Very informative post though, thanks for that!

Jyarbro28 #32 Posted Apr 21 2015 - 22:52

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Design philosophy is also heavily influenced by use philosophy. German tanks tend to be lighter, faster and more mobile, so the chances of hitting where you are aiming and all that changes the armor requirements. American design is heavier and while still highly mobile, emphasize crew survival a little more so we use lots of armor even if not as needed, British love armor, big ole plates of it. Nothing like making a tank of a tank kinda thing.

 

But add in the Merkava and all the research of every dead tank in the history of Israel and you see some serious design philosophy. Crew survival is the end all of Israeli design, and they wrapped the fuel tank around the crew compartment. Someone explain that and how it works?



soviet_T_47 #33 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 01:27

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View PostLert, on Apr 13 2015 - 05:48, said:

- Why is Leopard 2 so sexy? Mmmmmmmm ....

 

 

because germans take great pride in making sexy tanks. 



Alceister #34 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 02:54

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View PostJyarbro28, on Apr 21 2015 - 22:52, said:

Design philosophy is also heavily influenced by use philosophy. German tanks tend to be lighter, faster and more mobile, so the chances of hitting where you are aiming and all that changes the armor requirements. American design is heavier and while still highly mobile, emphasize crew survival a little more so we use lots of armor even if not as needed, British love armor, big ole plates of it. Nothing like making a tank of a tank kinda thing.

 

But add in the Merkava and all the research of every dead tank in the history of Israel and you see some serious design philosophy. Crew survival is the end all of Israeli design, and they wrapped the fuel tank around the crew compartment. Someone explain that and how it works?

 

The fuel tank is used as a form of semi-spaced armour. From what I've read, it's actually quite interesting: the intent is that the liquid fuel actually helps resist projectiles and shaped charge jets, though I can't explain exactly how. In any case, the fuel tanks are placed in such a way that they're not really right next to the crew compartment.

Edited by Alceister, Apr 22 2015 - 02:54.


Blackhorse_Three_ #35 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 03:42

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View PostAlceister, on Apr 21 2015 - 20:54, said:

The fuel tank is used as a form of semi-spaced armour. From what I've read, it's actually quite interesting: the intent is that the liquid fuel actually helps resist projectiles and shaped charge jets, though I can't explain exactly how. In any case, the fuel tanks are placed in such a way that they're not really right next to the crew compartment.

 

Fuel has no inherent oxygen ... and it's expendable.



stalkervision #36 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 12:34

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they also use tank engines as 'spaced armor" only trouble is that tends to leave one a pillbox when hit. :)

alternaive #37 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 15:32

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View PostSquareCanine, on Apr 21 2015 - 14:50, said:

Chobham armor as used on the M1, while more effective than steel in general, is more effective against HEAT rounds than kinetic rounds. I think the difference is estimated to be something like 30% (it's not insignificant).

My sources suggest that it does offer about twice as much protection against HEAT than against kinetic rounds, at least this was the case during it's developement in 1970.

 

View PostSquareCanine, on Apr 21 2015 - 14:50, said:

TL;DR The M1 and Leo 2 use mostly flat armor because that's what the Chobham armor they are using is good at.

The M1 and the Leopard  2 use very flat armor, because this makes it easier to exchange the armor packages. There are patent describing different possible ways to fit special armor to a tank in such a fashion that it can be upgraded during the vehicles lifetime (i.e. in a semi-modular fashion). One rather simple approach is to create box-shaped armor inserts. The flat appearance allows easier mounting of the armor (it can be simply lifted by a crane). The armor itself doesn't have to be flat, it can also be mounted sloped (like in this unrelated image from a patent).

The T-90A also uses a flat turret design, despite utilizing no ceramic armor as far as I know.

 

View PostSquareCanine, on Apr 21 2015 - 14:50, said:

The Challenger 2 is a little over a decade older, and is known to use a different composition for at least some of it's composite armor, which would suggest that Dorchester armor has solved the problems with angles inherent in Chobham armor, hence the use of some angled armor.

No really. The Challenger 1 already had sloped armor:

 

View PostBlackhorse_Three, on Apr 21 2015 - 20:40, said:

Also, according to that article, Burlington and Dorchester are informal alternate names for Chobham armor.

Burlinton is the original name of the armor research program in the United Kingdom, which was housed at Chobham in England. The name "Chobham armor" was created by journalists, after details (not including the name) about the armor program were made public. "Chobham armor" was adopted in the everyday use later one and was even used to describe the armor in the original manuals of the Challenger 1 MBT. Dorchester is like Burlington an official designation, but it is often simply called "Chobham mark 2".

 

View PostBlackhorse_Three, on Apr 21 2015 - 20:40, said:

My understanding of the steel foundation of Chobham armor is that the elongated grain-structure, resulting from mill-rolling, is set at an axis perpendicular to the traditional application of rolled plate. That implies that the steel foudation of Chobham is not "plate" at all, but would have been first applied as numerous small blocks as opposed to a simple slab of plate armor. Any tool & die man who ever drilled or machined special-application steels knows how much tougher the steel can be when they're drilling or machining "against the grain".

The interesting thing about the Burlington program is that many documents of it have been declassified in the past. One or two documents can be found floating around in the internet (as scans/photgraphs), but there are a lot more (so if you are in England, just visit the National Archives). In an official magazine of the Polish army, somebody wrote two articles about the British armor research from the 1950s to the 1980s and he referenced more than a dozen recently declassified documents from the Burlington armor research program. Unluckily the article is all in Polish, but it can be read in a somewhat good quality via google translator (at least I think that I understood everything despite only knowing Polish 10 words). 

According to this article, there were about a dozen different versions of Burlington armor tested, which differed in composition and protection level. One of them for example included layers of explosvie material and some of them included ceramic tiles, but not all. It appears that ceramic tiles can be a part of Burlington/Chobham armor, but are not essential to it  - in this declassified documentfrom the early 1970s it is specifically mentioned on one page that Burlington armor does not work like ceramic or spaced armor.

 

My understanding of modern armor is that it consist of a reactive part (NERA) and a passive part. The reactive part (which seems on which the development of Burlington was focused) is offering most of the tank's protection against HEAT, while different passive arrays (high hardness armor, dense materials like DU or tungsten, ceramic tiles) offer better protection against APFSDS.

 

The Soviets used ceramic armor on their T-64A/B tanks and cast quartz sand on their T-72A and T-80B, but they switched to (non-explosive) reactive armor on the T-80U and T-72B. Photographs of damaged tanks like the Merkava IV and even one photo of a M1A1HA damaged in the Gulf War suggest that at least some portion of modern composite armor is NERA. In Poland during the 1990s a type of ceramic armor was tested for the PT-91, but in the end the program was canceled.

 

This is a picture of Chobham armor fitted to a Warrior MICV, which was hit by an RPG in the Iraq. Leftover parts of the RPG are stuck in the armor, which suggests that it is at least partial hollow.

 

View PostJyarbro28, on Apr 21 2015 - 22:52, said:

Design philosophy is also heavily influenced by use philosophy. German tanks tend to be lighter, faster and more mobile, so the chances of hitting where you are aiming and all that changes the armor requirements. American design is heavier and while still highly mobile, emphasize crew survival a little more so we use lots of armor even if not as needed, British love armor, big ole plates of it. Nothing like making a tank of a tank kinda thing.


No. You are generalizing way too much. The only German tank who tended to be faster and lighter than the contemporary tanks was the Leopard 1. The Panther, the Tiger, Tiger II, Panzer IV and Panzer III were not lighter than other tanks of the same era, just as the Leopard 2 was heavier than the M1 Abrams despite being a slightly smaller vehicle (and depdending on version, it still is).The Challenger 1 and the Chieftain are the only British tank to be heavier than contemporary tanks; the Challenger 2 is not heavier than a Leopard 2A6 or a M1A2, while the Centurion and most WW2 designs were lighter than designs from other countries.

 


Edited by alternaive, Apr 22 2015 - 15:36.


Jyarbro28 #38 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 18:53

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View Postalternaive, on Apr 22 2015 - 14:32, said:


No. You are generalizing way too much. The only German tank who tended to be faster and lighter than the contemporary tanks was the Leopard 1. The Panther, the Tiger, Tiger II, Panzer IV and Panzer III were not lighter than other tanks of the same era, just as the Leopard 2 was heavier than the M1 Abrams despite being a slightly smaller vehicle (and depdending on version, it still is).The Challenger 1 and the Chieftain are the only British tank to be heavier than contemporary tanks; the Challenger 2 is not heavier than a Leopard 2A6 or a M1A2, while the Centurion and most WW2 designs were lighter than designs from other countries.

 

 

ok, I stand corrected. I read too many mistaken theories and repeated them without verifying them.

 

And I'm still not sure how the Merkava's fuel tanks work as armor, but the Israeli's love them.

 

I also think the Merkava is a sexy tank, does that make me a deviant?


Edited by Jyarbro28, Apr 22 2015 - 18:53.


blurr91 #39 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 22:13

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View PostThe_DireWolf, on Apr 13 2015 - 05:11, said:

I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to modern military stuff, but I have a question- are tanks still actually needed? I don't mean that they are obsolete, but I can't imagine tank v tank warfare im the current age.

 

 

Are tanks needed?  That's a loaded question.

 

Tank, just like everything else, is merely a cog in combined warfare.  It brings direct fire with armor protection to the very front of the battle in a timely fashion.  If you can find something else to accomplish that feat, then tanks are not needed.


 

The only thing not replaceable is the physical presence of soldiers on the ground.  They hold the ground.  Everything is there to help them accomplish their goal.


 

Tank is just an additional tool available in the tool chest.  It can be replaced by other tools.  But it's always nice to have it around just in case.


Edited by blurr91, Apr 22 2015 - 22:14.


blurr91 #40 Posted Apr 22 2015 - 22:25

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View PostDelerium, on Apr 21 2015 - 13:16, said:

Actually, given that 80% of the worlds population is right handed, it makes sense do drive on the left side of the road. Driver is then seated on the right, which means master hand is on the steering wheel and off hand is changing gears rather than the other way around. Who the hell still uses imperial measurement?

 

Just because one is right handed doesn't mean one drives with right hand.

 

I'm right handed but I can only drive with my left hand.  No, I did not start driving a left-hand drive car with manual shift.  I learned on a left hand drive auto.  This translates to video game controller as well.  I can only operate a joystick with my left hand.  The one other thing I do with my left hand is to bat.  I pick up a baseball bat and I swing left handed.

 

Interestingly, I play hockey and golf using right hand stick/club.

 

I have a friend who is left handed, but plays all sports right handed.


 

We still use imperial measurements.  It drives me nuts.  Our stock market went from a fractional system to decimal system.  Why can't we at least start changing our measurements from fractional to decimal?  I frickin' hate trying to figure out if 1/8 of an inch is bigger or smaller than 3/32 of an inch!!!!






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